Everything Interstellar is hot these days. A sci-fi from Christopher Nolan? Count us in. Naturally, details have been kept under water ever since the director signed on to make this his Dark Knight Rises follow-up, but new information has revealed itself this week that has people in the media reaching for an explosive angle. The whole thing boils down to a more specific synopsis, one involving a hot-button issue.
Set in the future, the movie details the toll climate change has taken on agriculture, with corn the last crop to be cultivated. The scientists embark on a journey through a worm hole into other dimensions in search of somewhere other crops can be grown.
First off, let’s say it out loud: climate change. Do we know the circumstances of the film’s climate change? An asteroid? A million volcanic eruptions? Hu-Mans? Obviously, we do not know. The implication that appears to be bothering people though is that Interstellar seems designed to show the dangers of such an occurrence, something many might play off as fear mongering.
What they are missing though is the point of cinema and science-fiction inside of the medium. It is not about pure authenticity or causing external debate. It is about what circumstances our minds can dream up, what worlds we might be able to explore, and the characters that help bring them to life. If we strike certain ideas from a dance card, we are limiting the genre’s true potential to connect us all in the otherwise polarizing debris field known as society.
That said, Matt Damon just joined the production two days ago, so to expect immediate acceptance of such assertions seems overly optimistic. The actor has been a ‘message movie’ poster boy for the past year with his fracking movie Promised Land and later Elysium which was an R-rated actioner set against a dystopian future divided by class. In fairness to him though, Promised Land was John Krasinski’s idea and he only did Elysium so he could work with District 9 director Neill Blomkamp.
His joining of this particular film has nothing to do with its contents. Why? Because Damon stopped caring about scripts year ago. In recent interviews, he admitted to choosing directors above all-else which means he simply wants to work with Christopher Nolan. It has already been revealed the part is small, but I think the question now might be whether the haters care enough to not get on the actor’s back about doing another ‘hit piece.’
Let’s get one thing straight though, all this fringe hoopla that I just covered is not going to matter one bit in terms of box office receipts. A full decade ago, when debate about the issue of climate change was peaking, Roland Emmerch’s disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow made over $500 million at the global box office. $187 million of that came from North America which tells us that most people do not really care. Perhaps that is a bit disingenuous, but so is the media for making an issue out of Nolan’s latest hook.